Reflection: Student Ownership Solar Energy Engineering Project (Day 2): Light Transferred to Electric Energy - Section 2: Explore



This was the first time I have made solar powered cars with my class.  The PowerPoint is a great tool for getting the base components set up.  After the base is set up, everything else is up to the students to figure out.  They have to decide how to attach the axle and wheels, what angle to put the solar panel at, etc.  One of the biggest mistakes I saw was that once attached, their axle with the gear on it did not touch the gear attached to the motor.  Students had to figure out a way to get them to touch.  Many groups gave up after trying two or three times.  

Engineering is not always going to be easy and a big part of the engineering design process is identifying failure points, making adjustments, and retesting.  Students may have to repeat this numerous times just as scientists repeat it many times.  One group worked for 2 days on just making changes to their car and retesting.  They shaved down the wood to get the gears to touch and they added weight to help.  Eventually they got it working.  The excitement and feeling of accomplishment they had made it worth it.  They went down to show our school principal and showed all of the other 5th grade teachers.   Seeing that group finally get it working made the other students in the class wish they had continued trying.

This is a picture of the group that persevered through this activity.


  Student Ownership: Perseverance
Loading resource...

Solar Energy Engineering Project (Day 2): Light Transferred to Electric Energy

Unit 3: Transfer of Energy and Matter Through Organisms in an Ecosystem
Lesson 3 of 14

Objective: SWBAT build a car that converts solar energy into electric energy.

Big Idea: Students will work through the engineering design process to research, plan, and build a solar powered car to race.

  Print Lesson
3 teachers like this lesson
solar powered car
Similar Lessons
Engineering Design Process
4th Grade Science » Roller Coaster Madness
Big Idea: The engineering design process provides a useful framework for physics investigations.
Anchorage, AK
Environment: Urban
Jillian Gates
Post It Note Towers
4th Grade Math » Getting to Know You- First Days of School
Big Idea: Teamwork is a strategy to solve problems and students must learn to work together in this lesson in order to build a post it note tower.
Helena, MT
Environment: Suburban
Melissa Romano
Study of Environmental Issues: Water Pollution
5th Grade Science » Ecosystems
Big Idea: In this lesson, students continue creating a big book on environmental issues. Today, they explore water pollution by researching the problem, causes, impact, and the steps humans can take help protect the environment.
Environment: Urban
Kara Nelson
Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload